Managing Custody and Parenting Time During the Holidays

Emily J. Schmale

Author: Emily J. Schmale

POST DATE: 10.27.21
Ccha  Family Law

The holidays are approaching, and co-parenting families are likely already planning events that could impact parenting time schedules. CCHA is here with input on Indiana’s current Parenting Time Guidelines, and upcoming January 1, 2022 changes, to assist in your holiday planning.

Ccha november 2021 Managing Custody and Parenting Time During the Holidays 2

Co-parenting families make their parenting time schedules in a variety of ways, ranging from the flexibility of an “agreement to agree” on a schedule, to a recurring schedule tailored to a family, to the specific parameters of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. Regardless of the schedule your family follows, it is important to remember that it may not be possible to simply change your parenting time schedule to accommodate holiday plans if your schedule was created by an approved agreement or by court order. Instead, it is best to leave yourself ample time before the holidays to revisit your agreement or most current court order for guidance on holiday parenting time. Remember that in many cases, even if you and your co-parent agree to a parenting time change for holiday plans, that change may not be enforceable unless it is put in writing.

For families that use the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, Section II.F offers detailed guidance on parenting time during the holidays. The current Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines are available in full here. Remember that “[t]he Holiday Parenting Time Schedule shall take precedence over regularly scheduled...parenting time.” IPTG Sec. II.E(1).

The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, however, are being updated, with changes effective January 1, 2022. The Indiana Supreme Court’s October 5, 2021 order detailing the changes is available in full here. The updated Guidelines will offer an online calendar for creating parenting time schedules (available here), which may prove especially helpful at the holidays. 2022 IPTG Preamble B(3). The upcoming changes also make clear that “existing parenting time orders” will be interpreted according to the version of the Guidelines in place when that order or agreement was entered. 2022 IPTG Preamble C(2). In other words, when planning your holiday parenting time, be sure to look for guidance from the version of the Guidelines that correspond to the year of your agreement or order. If your family will use the 2022 version of the Guidelines, look to Section II.F for the comprehensive details of holiday parenting time changes.

Other notable changes to the 2022 Guidelines potentially impacting holiday time include:

  • Specific guidance on “Parenting Time During a Public Health Emergency” (2022 IPTG Sec. I.F);
  • “‘Make-up’ time is not an opportunity to deny the other parent of scheduled holidays or special days….” (2022 IPTG Sec. I.C(2)); and
  • For children over three but not yet in child care or school, holidays will be determined by the school district calendar of the district where the child “primarily resides” (2022 IPTG Sec. II.F(2)).

Planning ahead and relying on these types of available resources and help ensure that the holidays are a seamless and special time for your family.

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